USTA REGIONAL TRAINING CENTER - at the City of Las Vegas Darling Tennis Center
ANSWERS AND INFORMATION
HISTORY:The Regional training Center USTA initiative is a national project run by the player development division of the national USTA office. Their overall mission is to "help American players reach the top of the professional game." The 6 state Intermountain USTA section office is also involved in the Regional Training Center as a partner. Our USTA-Nevada district however has no involvement in running the RTC and or choosing who gets to be the coaches, it's location or what children get chosen. We are a district of the United States Tennis Association and govern local leagues, tournaments, advocacy, policy etc and have nothing to do with the RTC other then trying to lobby to have it come to Las Vegas. We did advocate for why we felt Nevada had earned the right to be the home of the Regional training Center, because our state was in competition with all the applicants who applied in the 6 Intermountain states.
Although we advocated for Nevada the decision was ultimately with the national staff and thanks to the efforts of our local applicants, and ultimately Darling Center who won the application process, we now have an RTC which is a very big value to our community.
HOW DID DARLING GET CHOSEN:USTA National and Sectional office sent an application out to all member organizations a year ago or so so anyone could apply to have the Regional Training Center at their club and as the head coaches. The USTA National staff started the Regional training centers to identify and team up with existing facility's and academies that have a proven track record of developing and training nationally ranked players in the top 50, 25 and 10. Applicants had to have a minimum of 8 courts and an existing training program. In Las Vegas from my knowledge 3 facilities applied and ultimately the USTA chose the Darling Tennis Center.
WHO CHOOSES THE COACHES:USTA-Nevada has no say in who is chosen to coach. The USTA Regional Training Centers are guided by national coaches. The two Regional Training Center coaches that run every camp are the coaches that put in the application, which in this case was Saad Ashraf and Tim Blenkiron. The application for the Regional Training Center was put in and granted to the City of Las Vegas Darling Center with Saad Ashraaf and Tim Blenkiron as the designated coaches applying. USTA National was looking for a facility and coaches with a track record training nationally ranked players. Although Tim Blenkiron and Saad Ashraf run competing Academies, they chose to team up in order to make sure this rare opportunity would not pass Las Vegas by. As the two Academy Directors applying for the RTC, national USTA designates them as the head coaches for the Regional Training Center, although they follow the lead of national staff.
WHO CHOOSES THE ADDITIONAL COACHES:USTA-Nevada has no role or say in who is chosen as an additional coach. The Regional training center will have countless coaches for each of the 6 camps planned annually. The additional coaches are recommended, reviewed and selected by the Intermountain Section Coaches Commission which is made up of representatives from each state, the Intermountain section junior competition coordinator and the USTA National staff. USTA-Nevada has no say in who gets selected to be a coach. If you would like to be considered you should reach out to the sections junior competition coordinator. Each camp there will be different coaches attending from throughout the west coast. This formula of rotating coaches was created to cross train coaches from all over the country. The goal is to not only train the young children but for all the coaches to share ideas as well.
WHAT WILL THE REGIONAL TRAINING CENTER DO: USTA-Nevada will have nothing to do with running the Regional training Center. The Regional Training Center will train children ages 8 to 12 from all over the west coast at 6 camps a year for free. At each camp the children will be evaluated and trained. While only some of the kids will attend just one camp, some of them may be invited back to attend more camps. Some may be chosen to come to the west coast or east coast national training centers.
HOW ARE THE CHILDREN CHOSEN:USTA-Nevada has no say in how the children are chosen. Rob Merriman is contacted by Tiffany Clifford the ITA Jr Competition Coordinator to get information on who the up and coming players are based on ranking and other criteria. Rankings from our "Futures" , "Challenger", "Grand Slam" tournaments play a part in this. This list is considered by the group that chooses who gets to attend. Participants are selected in conjunction with the USTA National coaching staff and their respective USTA Section Coaching Commission.
HOW CAN YOUR CHILD BE CHOSEN: Ken Shioi and Tim Blenkiron and Saad Ashraf represent the Nevada District on the Sections coaches commission and will work with Nevada District pros to help identify talent in players as young as 7 years old. Children wanting to be selected can play a lot of local tournaments and these results will get you on the radar. Also talk to your coach who can then call the District coaches commission representatives, Ken Shioi and Tim Blenkiron and Saad Ashraf. Tim and Ken and Saad do not have the decision power to select your child but they can submit your name to the coaches commission for consideration.
HOW MUCH DOES USTA NATIONAL GIVE DARLING CENTER TO RUN RTC:All coaches get a flat rate daily to coach designated by the USTA. The City of Las Vegas gets a $50,000 grant from the USTA to pay these coaches fees and all costs associated with the Regional Training Center, including but limited to, all hotel costs for all the children in the RTC, food and training equipment for the 6 free training camps.
HOW MANY NEVADA CHILDREN GET CHOSEN: Each camp can be as small at 16 to 32 players. Of that amount Nevada only gets a few players that can attend. The Regional Training Center facility gets 2 wild card choice that they get to use for any player they choose. Other then that all players are chosen by the coaches commission and the USTA National staff.
IF MY CHILD IS NOT CHOSEN HOW DO I BENEFIT: This is great exposure for Las Vegas and could result in more people seeing how great our jr tennis community is. Perhaps they will come more, even move here. Every addition to our junior community will effect your child in a positive way. It is a snowball effect. As Asia continues to do well as a pro, Evan Song becomes top 12 in the US, Patrick Kawka top 20 (going to BYU), Kimberly Yee #1, and Gabrielle Smith top 5, that inspires other children to strive for the same. They can see up close they are not that far behind. Soon enough everyone is made better through the experiences and opportunities of our fellow players. This will also increase tournament play and match play is a major role in helping a child learn the game of tennis, how to compete and handle pressure. This ultimately will help your child because tournaments will be larger, more competitive which ultimately pushes them further.
The National Coaching Staff and by extension those affiliated with coaching at the DTC Regional Training Center place significant important on working with personal coaches. Personal coaches are defined as the primary coach of an invited player where the coach derives his income from teaching/coaching tennis. (By that definition the dad who is a banker and coaches his own child would not qualify as a personal coach) personal coaches are always invited to the camp when one of the players for whom the are the personal coach is invited. The personal coach is responsible for his/her own expenses. They will have opportunity to spend some time on court Friday afternoon and will be invited to some of the coaches? meetings conducted by the National Coach. They will be introduced to the coaching philosophy of USTA Player Development and have some time for interaction with the National and Regional training Center Coaches in attendance.
Outside of current members of the coaches commission priority will be given to coaches who currently are primary coaches of players ranked in the top 50 nationally (if second year players in their age group) or top 100 nationally. Invited coaches are expected to promote the National Coaching Philosophy and everything they learn during the weekend and share it with their district?s top coaches and their own facility coaching staff.
I pasted some links below that provide more information on the regional training center.
RTC Article link
More info on RTC's on National USTA web site